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Why You Can’t Hire High Achievers
Posted By Lou Adler On April 25, 2013 @ 6:45 am In Advice and How-Tos | 10 Comments
We just ran a quick poll (see question and results in graphic) to determine if hiring managers would trade off experience for potential if they didn’t have to compromise performance or results. Two-thirds agreed. How would you answer the question, and how would your hiring managers? If you’re not on the same page, you’re working a lot harder than necessary.
I decided to run this poll  after a techie hiring manager at a recent training asked me how much experience a person needs to have to be successful. My response: enough to do the work; some people need more; some need less; and the best people need the least. That threw the hiring manager into a dizzy, and he left scratching his head.
The point: if you don’t define the work required to be successful, success is problematic. The work determines what skills and experiences are required. The skills and experience don’t determine success. That’s why the idea of filtering based on skills and experience precludes a company from seeing the people it actually wants to hire: high-potential people who can do the work successfully with the least amount of skills and experiences.
If you want to see stronger candidates when posting jobs, emphasize the work that needs to be done rather than the skills needed to do it. For example, it’s far better to say, “lead and complete the marketing launch of the new fracking hydraulic high pressure control valve line by year-end,” rather than “must have 5+ years oil field industry experience, a BS in Mechanical Engineering, 2+ years of high-pressure fluid dynamics experience, exceptional interpersonal and communications skills, a go-getter attitude, and be able to work closely with engineering and operations in a lean manufacturing environment.” Key to this: if you can prove the person is competent and motivated to do the work described, they have exactly the level of experiences, skills, and attitude required. You can use The Most Important Interview Question of All Time  to figure this out.
Here are some other ways to find out if the candidate is on a fast track:
High-potential candidates get more done with less experience and master whatever skills are required faster than their peer group. I find it difficult to comprehend why any manager or business leader would preclude these candidates from consideration. Yet 95 percent of jobs posted online do just that, and these very same managers and business leaders continue to complain they’re not seeing or hiring enough top people.
If you’re a recruiter who still box-checks SKAs, ask your clients if they’d like to see some high achievers who can absolutely do the work required but have less of the skills and experiences listed on the job description. Most will say yes. Then go find these high achievers who can do the work and are excited to do it. If they say no, be concerned, since you’ll just be spinning your wheels.
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URL to article: http://www.ere.net/2013/04/25/why-you-cant-hire-high-achievers/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.ere.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/hiring-poll.jpg.png
 run this poll: http://budurl.com/Xsurvey
 The Most Important Interview Question of All Time: http://budurl.com/LI1QIV2
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